By A. Believer
Recently Ricky Gervais wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal blog focused on his position as an unbeliever, as so many articles do around Christmastime. He opened his piece with: “Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time.” His answer was that he believes what he does because there is no scientific, logical, factual reasoning that supports the existence of a god. He goes on to say that he lives by “Do unto others” and considers forgiveness the greatest virtue. He is a nice guy because it is the right thing to do, not to earn a space in heaven.
So what can a person who believes in the Christian God and the Holy Trinity, with the second person becoming human and entering into our history, say? Am I absolutely sure that God exists and entered history as a human? No. Because faith in God is not a logical conclusion, faith is a gift from the Creator. It is a gift that can be nurtured through theological study, reading holy texts, communal support through participation in services, cosmological reflection and prayer but belief cannot be reasoned.
There was a time when my faith was seriously challenged. I was in college and a nun in a habit at the time. For several months, perhaps six months, questions such as: Who says there is a God? What if there is no God? Is God real? Is there a God? were constantly in my mind. How ironic, I thought, that I walk around wearing an outfit that shouts out belief in God and I am doubting that God exists. After a period of time this constant questioning subsided, my mind rested and I believed.
Was I not intellectually honest or have I received a gift of faith? And then a related question is: If I received this gift, why haven’t other good, serious and honest people whom I know not received this gift? Another mystery.
How come Jews, and Muslims, Hindus, …. have a different gift of faith? I believe that the Supreme Being whom I call God is bigger than each of these traditions. All of them are deeply embedded in the culture where they originated. All of them speak to different aspects of the human condition. An article about Olivier Roy’s new book “Holy Ignorance: when Religion and Culture Part Ways” claims that the secular world, with its globalization and materialism have blocked the ability for religion to offer a transcendental alternative to it. But this is about religion, not faith.
So how does my faith affect my life? First of all I notice a peace because the bombarding questions have ceased and then I feel grounded, a part of all that is, and active because I am a part of the evolving creation. This gives me a sense of purpose, but a sense of purpose in relationship with all of the other people and with all of the mysteries of creation. I’d like to suggest that a difference between a believer and an unbeliever is that the believer accepts a Creator.